Schmidt to step down after RWC


The IRFU have announced that head coach Joe Schmidt will finish coaching following the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.

Joe Schmidt was appointed Ireland head coach ahead of the 2013 Guinness Series and has overseen the most successful period in the national team’s history winning three 6 Nations titles (2014, 2015) including a Grand Slam (2018), a first win on South African soil (2016), a first win over New Zealand (2016) and a series win in Australia (2018).

Two unbeaten records have also been set during this period with a 12 game unbeaten run straddling the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons and a record 12 consecutive home victories achieved from November 2016 to November 2018.

Joe has utilised 99 players and capped 54 new Ireland internationals over the 62 games that he has been in charge to date achieving a 74% win ratio. Ireland have also attained their highest ever world ranking (No.2) under his watch.
Speaking about the decision, Joe said:

"I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019.

"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled has been uplifting.

"Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland.

"There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there’s plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff, so that the team can be as competitive as possible."

It has been confirmed that following Rugby World Cup 2019 Andy Farrell will become Ireland head coach.

Andy Farrell commented, "It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role. I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him over the next year as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019."

Joe Schmidt commented, "The coaches have been fantastic to work with and Andy has made a big impact since coming into the group. His ability to lead and his understanding of the game will ensure that the group will continue to move forward."

Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive, commented "We are delighted to have secured Andy as in-coming Head Coach. As part of Joe’s management team Andy has already helped to deliver huge performances and I know he will continue to inspire our players for years to come. Andy has world class coaching credentials and we are pleased to have a roadmap for an orderly transition post Rugby World Cup to the 2019 Six Nations."

David Nucifora, IRFU High Performance Director, commented "We are incredibly fortunate to have a coach of the calibre of Andy Farrell in Irish Rugby. He has proven through his work ethic and success with Ireland and the Lions over the last number of years that he is the person to take Irish Rugby forward after RWC 2019. The close working relationship that our current coaching group have and what they will continue to gain over the next year with Joe still at the helm leaves Andy and Irish Rugby in the enviable position of having continuity before building the road forward.

This appointment provides certainty and continuity beyond RWC19 with Andy leading the coaching group through the next World Cup cycle to the 2023 tournament in France. The coaching group are contracted beyond next year’s World Cup which again provides continuity for the players ahead of the 2020 6 Nations Championship."